Feed on
  1. How well did federal ARRA (i.e. stimulus) funds, sent through the states, for appliance efficiency do?  You be the judge. I am sure this will get wide press coverage and thoughtful conversation.Using transaction-level data on appliance sales, we show that most program participants were inframarginal due to important short-term intertemporal substitutions where consumers delayed their purchases by a few weeks. We find evidence that some consumers accelerated the replacement of their old appliances by a few years, but overall the impact of the program on long-term energy demand is likely to be very small. Our estimated measures of cost-effectiveness are an order of magnitude higher than estimated for other energy efficiency programs in the literature. We also show that designing subsidies that reflect, in part, underlying attribute-based regulatory mandates can result in perverse effects, such as upgrading to larger, less energy-efficient models.
  2. How does Small Business Administration (SBA) lending impact economic growth? It reduces growth. I am sure this will get wide press coverage and thoughtful conversation.We find evidence that a county’s SBA lending per capita is associated with direct negative effects on its income growth. We also find evidence of indirect negative effects on the growth rates of neighboring counties. Overall, a 10% increase in SBA loans per capita is associated with a cumulative decrease in income growth rates of about 2%.


  3. OK, so subsidies for energy efficiency and for small businesses don’t seem to be producing economic nirvana. How about subsidies for electronic medical records?In February 2009 the U.S. Congress unexpectedly passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). HITECH provides up to $27 billion to promote adoption and appropriate use of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) by hospitals … We measure the extent to which HITECH incentive payments spurred EMR adoption by independent hospitals. Adoption rates for all independent hospitals grew from 48 percent in 2008 to 77 percent by 2011. Absent HITECH incentives, we estimate that the adoption rate would have instead been 67 percent in 2011. When we consider that HITECH funds were available for all hospitals and not just marginal adopters, we estimate that the cost of generating an additional adoption was $48 million. We also estimate that in the absence of HITECH incentives, the 77 percent adoption rate would have been realized by 2013, just 2 years after the date achieved due to HITECH.

    To be fair, if we are talking about this as “stimulus” and NOT as some way to get hospitals to use technology that they stubbornly refused to employ despite it being in their best interest. then the “pushing forward’ of this consumption by a couple of years passes the stimulus test. At a cost of $48 million per additional hospital adopting? Is that big or small? Who knows. Again, I am sure this will get wide press coverage and thoughtful conversation.

  4. Compulsory schooling reduces student superstitions and religiosity (in Europe) says this paper. You know my views on this – it just replaces one type of native superstition and religiosity for another.

    Using micro data from the European Social Survey, conducted in various years between 2002 and 2013, we find consistently large negative effects of schooling on self-reported religiosity, social religious acts (attending religious services), as well as solitary religious acts (the frequency of praying) … We find that more education, due to increased mandatory years of schooling, reduces individuals’ propensity to believe in the power of lucky charms and the tendency to take into account horoscopes in daily life

    If there is ANYTHING that I am sure of of high school and college education is that they are teaching kids that lucky charms, metaphorically speaking, do exist. And as for superstition, I just had students write me a simple essay on why “capitalism sucks.” I quite enjoy reading these sorts of things – but in every single essay the reason I was told it stinks is because of things like the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Now, I’ve never defined capitalism nor do I employ the word in my intro class any more. No one I knew took economic history and no one I knew actually studied much economics. Yet the “evidence” of capitalism’s suckiness is a 100-year old episode that is probably printed in every AP History book about the greed and avarice unleashed in America by capitalists exploiting workers for their own gain. Whether that particular story is told properly or not is not my point of course.

Have a great week.

3 Responses to “Monday Morning Research Roundup”

  1. chuck martel says:

    No superstition involved in standing up hatless with hand over heart while the musical rendition of a Francis Scott Key poem is played before a hockey game, is there?

  2. Harry says:

    Nothing like being reinvigorated by the prose of the NBER. I thank WC for weeding through it.

    Regarding stimulating appliance sales to save the planet and GE, just a half hour ago I stuck a wire down the wash arm of my dishwasher, the most recent of several efforts to remove calcium deposits that have evidently built up over the years. I bought the dishwasher in the Reagan era, my first dishwasher; prior to that, I was the dishwasher. I remember it had one of those stickers on it that bragged of its energy efficiency, and most of the time I have voluntarily run it on the shortest cycle, which makes me think I should get a two thousand dollar tax credit.

    I have bought new appliances voluntarily before. After the old ones stopped working or leaked, I did happen to buy the best model that fit the space, had a reputation for reliability, and had convenient features.

    But I will not be defeated by this dishwasher, and will only buy a new one unless it is irreparable.

Leave a Reply